Carbon dioxide emissions in relation to water table in a restored fen

E. Anu Wille, Christian F. Lenhart, Randall K. Kolka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many peatlands have been drained for anthropogenic purposes, and there is high interest in restoring them for their carbon storage ability and critical habitat. Peatlands hold a disproportionate amount of global soil carbon, making peatland restoration a promising approach for mitigating carbon emissions. In this study, site factors were investigated that affect peat carbon dioxide flux at Cold Spring fen in Minnesota, which is undergoing restoration. Peat carbon dioxide flux and water table depth were monitored throughout the growing season at two locations previously disturbed to different degrees by row-crop agriculture. Flux ranged from 0.55 to 12.71 µmol m−2 s−1 and was highest during peak growing season. Lower flux corresponded to elevated water table conditions. The more disturbed location often had lower flux, indicating success in hydrological restoration. The water table is an important factor in peatland restoration, and water table management should be considered to maximize carbon sequestration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20112
JournalAgricultural and Environmental Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Agricultural & Environmental Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.


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